Father, inspiration for Cottonwood, and bean counter
Phil developed his Bacchanalian tendencies while a student at UC Berkeley (go Bears!). There he received a masters in Agricultural Economics, which means he spent at least two years in Berkeley – and we all know what that can do to a person! While a student, Phil and his friends made frequent road trips to check out the fledgling Napa Valley wine scene. He never imagined that what started as a bit of an escape from the long hours of studying would parlay itself into a lifelong fascination with wine. Never mind the good intentions – Phil was hooked.
In 1970, Phil headed north, eventually settling near Central Point, Oregon. He purchased a small farm there, and supplemented his income by working for a local government agency. For the next several years, he held down a full time job while working his farm “on the side.” In addition to his already exhausting endeavors, Phil was raising his children. Aaron grew up on this farm, and readily admits that his childhood memories have greatly influenced his career choices over the years.
As time passed, Phil realized that the economics of small farm life were not exactly penciling out in the way he had hoped. He decided to leave the back-breaking labor to someone else, and moved to the city. Deferring to his educational background, he made a living for the next two decades as an economic advisor and accountant. That might be the end of the story for some of us, but not for Phil. He couldn’t quite shake the dirt from his boots. In 1994, he and his partner purchased a more manageable farm in the Eola Hills, a property which would eventually become the estate vineyard for Cottonwood Winery.